It’s been awhile since I’ve posted in the HipHop101 section, but what I’m going to talk about is really going to be able to help some people who listen. Although I am an artist, my first love in music has always been the business side as far as marketing, management, and promotion. One of my favorite things to do behind the scenes is organize collaborative Mixtape or Album projects which requires you to work with and organize a lot of different people that do a lot of different things. You have artists, producers, DJ’s, record labels, managers, graphic artists, bloggers, promoters, etc who can all be involved with this kind of project. It can be extremely difficult sometimes when you are dealing with so many different people and personalities but no matter how difficult it can be, I personally find that the finished project always ends up being worth it and whatever or whoever the difficulty was, you learn from it and move forward so that you can make each project better than the next.
With that being said, what I want to address is the Etiquette of Artists. I am very aware that we live in a day and age of social media and we are living in a generation of selfish people. Be that as it may, I am going to explain to you the honorable way to conduct yourself and you can choose to ignore it or pay attention. I am going to tell you the truth about somethings and it might hurt your feelings, but you will be alright if you can get out of your emotions and listen to the logic because this is after all business regardless of what you see portrayed on television or social media.
- YOU ARE NOT FAMOUS. Unless you are cashing million dollar checks, have hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsements, have gold or platinum records, or have been recognized as one of the greats for your well seasoned and decorated music contributions? SIT DOWN. Relax. you don’t deserve to be disrespected, but you better stay humble. If you are unreasonably a jerk, nobody is going to want to work with you and eventually you will end up biting every hand that tried to help you get fed and burn down all the bridges extended to you. Unless you are an outstanding artist, producer, graphic artist, DJ, blogger, promoter, manager, and record label all in one? You will eventually need the help of other people so it’s best to conduct yourself as a professional. In my opinion I don’t understand how people can say they want music to be their full-time job so they don’t have to do anything else but they’ll behave like professionals for their job at the gas station and act like they have no manners or common sense when it comes to conducting themselves as an entrepreneur (which is technically what you are as an independent artist).
- Value an invitation. There is a lot of work that goes into a collaborative project. Far too many times people undervalue the time and work that’s put in to a collaborative project especially if all they did was submit a song. This is no way means the creative process and recording is under valued, but the point I am trying to make is a collaborative release has many components to it and if you are invited onto a collaborative project (especially one being presented by an artist, group, or label that holds weight under their name or brand) there are a few things you can easily do that show you appreciate the opportunity of exposure and free promotion. The LEAST you can do is share the project and support it especially if you were invited on. Even if you pay for a slot, what was the point of purchasing your exposure opportunity if you don’t even support it? If you are invited onto a project, turn in your music in a timely manner. Nobody should have to chase you down to give you an opportunity. If you want to be taken serious as an artist? Be professional. Nobody is going to keep calling, texting, inboxing, or emailing you in order to put your music on a project that’s overall cost isn’t coming out of your budget. What all of us as artists need to remember is that there are millions of us. Sometimes it’s not even natural talent that help people move forward in this very competitive business, it’s things like honoring your word, professionalism, and integrity. For me personally? I will help a less talented artist who is a good person ten times over breaking my neck for someone who is super talented but a headache to work with.
- Label your tracks properly. When you are submitting a song, nine times out of ten whoever is collecting the music is slammed with emails. Make sure you do your part to cut down on the instance of error and costly mistakes. Your email should come with the MP3 of the song, Artist name, track name, and producer name. One thing that happens far too often is people do not label their tracks properly and then expect everyone to stop what they’re doing to correct spelling errors, add something or delete something. Once things like promotion is started or track lists have been designed and released it is far too time consuming and costly to make changes and frankly, unless the error was a track by a heavy hitter? Chances are you’re going to have to deal with the error and move on. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another and nobody died because of it.
For those of you who may be very new, there is a difference between a Mixtape and Collaborative Album. A Mixtape can be done by an individual (normally a collection of their music they are putting out for free in order to generate a buzz before an album comes out, a free project an individual releases in order to start building a fan base, a free collaborative project from a group/label/ DJ that showcases a collection of artists / producers. The key word though is FREE. The only time there is ever a charge for a Mixtape is if hard copies are pressed up then you are paying for the actual hard disk and shipping, not the actual music. Artists can be invited on by a DJ/Group/ Label or slots are sometimes available for a fee. Purchasing a slot would be something you charge to your promotional budget and you should only purchase slots on Mixtapes that target the fan base you want, and or are hosted/produced by a reputable organization/DJ/Label/Group. I say that because I can’t even count the number of times a no-name brand or group has slid in my inbox trying to sell me a Mixtape slot for hundreds of dollars. No thanks. If you are debating on purchasing a slot, google the other Mixtapes they’ve done. Combine all the numbers from all of the sites you see it posted on and decide if the slot fee is worth that investment for the level of exposure you find. ( Side note: Any slot fee over $100-$150 you should look for downloads and plays of ten thousand or more but BE CAREFUL…. some of those “downloads” aren’t organic, meaning they could have been purchased. So the best way to make sure it’s legit is see if the project comes up on multiple sites and check all of the stats before making your decision.
A Collaborative Album is actually for sale. Normally a collab album will have one producer and feature many artists on their beats, or put out by a label/group and showcasing their artists and producers. On this kind of album purchase you can expect all original tracks.
I hope some if not all of this was helpful or enlightening. One more helpful tip until the next time… if you are an artist and consider the music industry your ideal profession? Do some research about the “business” you say you’re in. There’s a lot of “artists” that don’t even own the name they’re making beats or recording songs with, and there’s a lot of producers selling beats they don’t technically own although they made them.
That’s all for now! Be blessed –
Tags: album, artist, DJ, Emcee, facebook, Hell Razah, Hell Razah Music Inc., hiphop, HipHop News, indie, indie artist, instagram, Mixtape, music album, music producer, producer, Production, qtp, queen the prophet, radio, Rap, Rapper, record contract, record label, singer, social media, sunz of man, twitter, underground hiphop, wu tang clan
I realize that I frequently make references to this subject matter in my posts, but with each post it doesn’t become less relevant. Here’s the way I see it, even if just one person reads it and it helps them focus on the things that truly matter in real life like their family, relationships, hopes, dreams, and goals? It was well worth it.
The internet is a tool and too many people have allowed it to become the dictator of their reality. Too many people are starved for real human to human interaction and many don’t even know how to communicate socially face to face without discussing the internet. When was the last time you had a personal conversation and absolutely no references were made to some sort of online activity? Have you been to a store lately? Most cashiers have their phone in their hand. Most people can’t even enjoy a social gathering without checking their phone.
What’s more disturbing is that there is crisis everywhere in the world and people forget about disaster as soon as a new post flies through their feed. People (human beings) are lost, sick, struggling, and hurting all over the planet and most people are too busy posting their comments about it instead of actually getting involved or at least trying to be an agent of change. If you found yourself in the middle of a crisis or you have loved ones that are, I’m sure you appreciate the people who have decided to put down their phones long enough to get involved.
You are not “woke”, a revolutionary or any other sort of agent of change if all you do is fall into the peanut gallery comment section of the internet. Stop allowing yourself to be so self absorbed and distracted. Get involved, do something that matters, & enjoy your real life.
When you live kingdom minded, don’t expect everyone to comprehend what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. The light of The Lord inside of you is quite capable of drawing others unto Himself. Less talk, more action. Clever memes and inspirational post sharing doesn’t mean a thing if you’re not snatching souls out of the fire. All you accomplish with that is portraying an image but if you are not living that image you’re not fooling God.
“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:5 NKJV
So many people are missing out on what real life has to offer because their most important relationship is with themselves. There’s nothing wrong with healthy self-esteem, taking care of yourself, and setting boundaries but when it’s an ego issue? That’s dangerous.
Most people (even older ones) have conformed to this new mindset in regards to the importance of your cell phone (which lets not forget is an object). Most people will go back home if they forget it and some will have an all out emotional melt down if they lose it. There is nothing healthy about that. It was unheard of professionally for you to have a cell phone on or with you while working and these days you can find every cashier at almost every store with phone in hand. People spend more time on their phones at work then they do actually working.
We are becoming more and more out of touch with what is actually reality. Dating has become a tap, swipe, or like. People develop relationships off a filtered presence on social media based on a character that they have created themselves to be as opposed to who they actually are. Nobody actually meets anymore because meeting would cause them to have to come out from behind their self created phone world and the hard core truth is most people are afraid to do that because they honestly lack the social skills and the ability to handle human to human interactions including rejection, so they avoid it all together and tap, swipe, or like their way on to the next. If this continues, all of the things that help make life beautiful like memories, family, friendships, dating, will all be non-existent and we will find ourselves in a world much colder then the one we already have.
So.. apparently the new “challenge” is doing a remix of Monica’s track “So Gone” from her “After the Storm” album (which by the way was originally released on my Birthday June 17th in 2003). Absolutely one of those timeless albums that if you played it today 13 years later it would still be good.
So what I’m sharing is in my opinion one of the best (if not thee best) #SoGoneChallenge attempts I’ve seen by Elwood (Elwood Music).
You can check Elwood out on Facebook & Twitter:
I’ve spent the last month or so observing the social “norms” of human behavior both online and in person. I’ve actually been online a lot more then I have been posting and out and about a lot more then I make mention of. I’ve been observing several age groups and since I really have made an effort to disconnect myself from the majority of my music demands and interactions with others, I was able to get a very clear yet disturbing insight on a few things. I even pondered if I should bother writing about it because quite honestly, most people aren’t going to care. Most of the time most people don’t seem to care about anything these days really until it happens to them personally or it’s too late. After that thought passed through my mind I had to rebuke myself because it doesn’t matter if “most people” don’t care, I do and because I do, even if what I’m writing only falls on one set of ears that pays attention it’s worth it.
Let’s start with the basics, if you can honestly look around you at the state of the world and not see that something is very, very wrong? I feel sorry for you. The lack of compassion we have for each other is at an all time disgusting high, people (both young and old) are entirely self absorbed, selfish, and the average human ego is out of control. The number of people on anti-depressants is alarmingly high, most working class people are “working poor”, poor people are kept poor because if they make $5 over a certain number they lose their medical insurance and can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket, the average working person is absolutely exhausted on a daily basis working 40+ hours a week to still struggle with bills, marriages are falling apart, children are being raised by electronics, the future leaders of tomorrow have role models with zero morals, and we all know that organic is the best food to buy because it doesn’t contain harmful poisons yet most people can’t afford the food without poison in it.
We live in a time where a tiny electronic device allows each individual person to feel like the Mayor of their own little world. Most people, spend most of their day inside their phone, in their private little town. People spend hours taking pictures of themselves and no longer know how to enjoy a moment with their family or friends without making it a social media update while it’s happening. The next time you go out to eat, take a look around you. Most people sit at a table on their phone. Kids no longer know how to use their imagination and play. Nobody goes outside. These small devices are holding people hostage and nobody realizes it or cares. Why don’t they care? Easy, because the entire trap is designed to stroke your ego. It feels good. You like “likes”, you like followers, you like messages, you like comments. Some of you like them so much you’re addicted to them. The sad part is all of this is a distraction. Most of us are so busy in our tiny bubbles, we have no idea what laws are being passed and every major crisis only has the impact of a status update. We have been trained to filter information so fast that it is impossible for us to hold on to anything because we’re being hit with a million things every single day.
All of what I mentioned above ties into the title. See because of all the things I observed during the last month or so, one thing stuck out to me more than anything else and that was Love. It’s not a secret or a surprise that the Family as a unit has been under attack for years. I firmly believe that what we are witnessing is the manifestation of a well calculated and executed plan that has been in the works for decades. If you distract people from the opportunity to find love or even think about it, you are destroying family. Why attack family? Because strong families make strong communities. Marriage and family aren’t even goals for most people anymore. If you ask people about their goals most of what they start talking about has to do with money. (1 Timothy 6:10 “for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” NKJV)
If you’ve had the fortunate blessing to have someone 70 or older in your life, then hopefully you’re going to fully grasp the rest of this writing. I would like to hope that most of us have heard a beautiful story at some point in our lives as how maybe our great-grandparents, grandparents, or even our own parents met. Some of us have even known people that met when they were little, grew up, and are still together. At one time the sense of commitment was strong. Families were supported by their community (family, friends, neighbors, church, schools, etc) and marriages withstood the test of time. We now live in a society that caters to our ego and nobody teaches problem solving skills anymore. We are taught to move on to the next thing that makes us “happy” which is the same kind of truth farmer’s use to catch a rat. Farmer’s don’t leave rat traps out in the open, they cover them with a little bit of hay so the rat doesn’t see the trap and gets caught. I am not talking about abuse, it is never okay to tolerate abuse. I am speaking directly of people throwing away marriages due to lack of self-control, boredom, and unrealistic expectations they put on their partner to make them happy. Nobody teaches people how to make themselves happier people in general and folks are finding themselves in “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome and nine times out of ten if they took the time to water their own grass it would be just as green.
We live in a microwave world. Everybody wants everything in under sixty seconds and the things that we are giving our time to are not things that are going to sustain us. Everyone is running, running, self absorbed, running, running, and running right into the grave. If you were to take your last breath today, what kind of legacy would you be leaving behind for your family? Have you accomplished all of the things you wanted to accomplish? Are you happy? Did you enjoy your life? Did you spend as much time with the people you love as you would have liked to? If you died today and God gave you a chance to come back but you had to give Him a good reason, what would your reason be? Would it be so you could work more? Post on Facebook one last time? Send out a few more tweets? Buy that one last insignificant piece of expensive crap that consequently didn’t fit in your casket? By the way, while you were so busy running, did you ever happen to get the chance to make time for God and sow into where you’ll spend eternity? When your eyes closed for the final time, did they close with the assurance of where your soul is going?
I may not have the answers on how to fix the entire world, but I am certainly revealing to you some ways that we can fix ourselves. The point I wanted to make is that we are robbing ourselves of life and the real experiences and opportunities that shape and mold us. We are not being good parents if we giving our kids more gifts then time. We are not building a strong family if we’re too busy for it. We are currently failing the next generation because those of us left with some sense and some good foundation are getting caught up in all of this to a certain degree and as you look down from your age to the age groups behind you, it gets worse by each decade of ages. We need to start remembering the things that gave us the good parts of our foundation, our fond memories and give those experiences and opportunities back to the generation behind us or they will not have them. Think about all of your favorite things from your childhood and then ask yourself what of those are you imparting into your children? If we do not impart these lessons, they will not have them. If we do not allow the opportunity for “nature to take it’s course” and keep trying to control nature it is absolutely going to blow up in our face to a degree nobody is prepared for and it’s already starting to.
In closing, I hope to some degree this has struck a nerve (or two) in a way that gets you to actually pause, re-evaluate, and do something different. I hope that you do not allow yourself to be a social media hostage and shift it back into the “just for fun” category so that real life doesn’t continue to pass you by. For myself personally, I want to one day be able to tell my future children and grandchildren a story of how I met, fell in love, and married their future father and grandfather, and no where in that story will their be anything ratchet that you see on television or involve social media.
Tags: anxiety, children, Christ, community, coping skills, Crisis, Depression, Divorce, electronics, emotions, facebook, faith, family, God, human behavior, internet, kids, Life, Love, Love Story, marriage, Music, Parenting, parents, schools, self help, social media, Society, Teenagers, Television, twitter
Social media forums have both helped and made a total disaster in the independent music community. The internet is a wonderful tool for the independent artist to be able to put their music in the hands of folks in other states & counties absolutely free. It allows music lovers to discover music that they otherwise would know nothing about. In that respect? It’s a beautiful thing. However, as of late it’ become a very bitter sweet thing for most underground music lovers. Do you remember being in elementary school and one kid acts up and the whole class gets in trouble? That’s what it feels like on most social media forums these days when it comes to music. Unfortunately, there is an overabundance of individuals annoying the hell out of a lot of independent music professionals as well as potential listeners who are the regular social media users.
ARE YOU ANNOYING? Answer these questions:
Are you a person who is auto messaging every person that accepts a friend request or gives you a follow back with your music?
Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that follow you but you have never spoken to?
Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that you don’t follow or have on your friends list?
Have you ever added your music to a tweet or other media message between other people who don’t know you?
Have you ever posted the link to your music in a comment or on a post that had absolutely nothing to do with music (i.e. commenting your music link on someone’s Instagram picture) ?
If you have answered YES to ANY OF THESE, you are annoying. What you are doing is not only annoying, but 99% of the people who are falling victim to your unwanted spam not only don’t click your links and more then likely never will, but you may very well find your account suspended if too many people report you as spam.
If something was easy, everyone would do it. Just because you have access to free tools on the internet, doesn’t mean promotion is easy. Promotion is an actual skill that some people make a very decent living doing. What you are doing in the above mentioned behavior is not called promotion, it’s called spam. Real promotion costs money. It is ALWAYS more valid that another source is saying check you out then just you spamming strangers to death saying you’re the greatest alive. Can you do some yourself? Of course you can, but there are ways to do it. In the digital music world (especially on social media), it’s important for people to like you in order for them to support you. Building relationships with your following is just as important as the actual music itself. Someone who chats with you regularly may very well be inclined to check out your music. If you don’t feel that you have the kind of time to invest in your fan base because you should have been famous yesterday? Then you better put a whole bunch of money where your mouth is and hire yourself a publicist.
Feel free to share this post as needed, especially when receiving unwanted music links. For more do-it-yourself independent music tips, check out the Hip-Hop 101 section on this blog (which is now also available via our good friends at the International Underground Rap & Hip-Hop Connexion at promote.hiphop).
I just learned something and I felt compelled to share it with my beautiful readers. Let me back track for a second and tell you that today for me wasn’t exactly ideal. Spent the entire day in the emergency room and about an hour ago noticed that I had a flat tire. For some people that would have been enough to drive them right over the edge and they would have started screaming, swearing, asking “why me?” and all of that. I wasn’t thrilled when I saw the tire however, I realized that it could have been a lot worse. I had actually just added road side assistance to my policy two-weeks ago, my car was at home in my drive way, and I was grateful I didn’t notice it at 6:00 a.m. when I had somewhere to be. I’d like to also point out that this calm, cool, collective individual I am describing as me was not always me, believe me. But the trials and tribulations that allowed God to mold me this way we’ll visit another day during another lesson.
The tow-truck guy gets to my house and all of the sudden I found myself lending an ear as this man poured his entire life out to me as he was changing my tire. I learned that his son was killed in a car accident a few years ago and he suffered a heart attack soon after. He also was letting a friend who is battling cancer live with him and that friend lost his wife to cancer a few years ago. You might be thinking “Wow, that’s not really professional” or “Who cares?”, but that’s not what God wants you to think. See sometimes we get so caught up in what’s happening to us and we as a people have become so self-drama centered that some of us have even lost the ability to feel compassion for other human beings because we can’t think past our own emotions or own situations. Here’s a shocking reality check though, YOU are not that important. I am not that important, WE are all important.
As this man got up to leave, I told him I was sorry I didn’t have any cash on me to tip him and he said, “don’t worry about it”. I told him I will pray for his friend and he looked back at me and said quietly, “Please do, his name is Juan.” I realized that sometimes when things happen to us, even bad things, there is always an opportunity for you to help someone else. We can’t allow ourselves to be so consumed with the little annoyances of life that we end up missing the chance to be a blessing to someone else who may very well be in more need then we are. If you’re a believer, then you fully comprehend exactly what I’m saying. We can’t say that we love God, make witty Facebook or Instagram posts to make people on the internet see how super “spiritual” we are and then miss the chance to share God’s love with someone who needs it just because we’re drowning in our own drama. What that man was carrying in his heart was more important then my stupid tire and maybe all he needed was someone to listen.
A lot of people have their hands held out to receive a blessing but have closed fists when it comes time to be a blessing. Trust me when I tell you that if you want to see the favor of the Almighty move in your life? Be a giver, be a blessing. Stop telling people you love the Lord, SHOW THEM. You can’t be a “boss” if you haven’t learned to be a humble servant and the reason for that is because you can’t experience a divine appointed promotion without being a humble servant. You will always be called to be a server, you will always be required to be humble, you will always be required to think outside yourself. The most amazing thing about all of this is, God is so merciful and gracious that even a non-believer can find evidence of God’s hand on their life simply because they allow themselves to be a blessing to others. We are not animals or savages but if we continue to choose to behave like them then we have nobody but ourselves to blame when we reap the fruit of planting those crops. I used to be one of those mad at the world for everything that went wrong in my life people. It made a world of difference when I started to develop (and I’m still a work in progress) an attitude of gratitude.
I hope this post was a little bit of soul food for you, and if you are a praying person? Please send up a prayer for “Juan” because God is still in the miracle working business.
Greetings folks… For my readers that are also Twitter followers, my infamous random Twitter rants are no surprise especially as it relates to the independent artist. There is nothing I can’t stand more then a liar and a thief. I have found throughout my time in the music industry that most people are in this business to get money and a good number of them will do it by any means necessary, even if it means misleading people (such as yourself) that don’t really have a whole lot of money, don’t know any better, are just starting out, and aren’t the kind of people that have money to lose. Most people (from my experiences) can’t afford to be full-time in music. They have jobs, families, and bills so every dime they invest in their self needs to be a good investment. I give away a lot of information for free (quite honestly you would have to hire a Manager or Publicist to give you and sometimes even then you could be learning a very expensive lesson) because I don’t want to see anyone get robbed. I remember what it was like when I first started out. Music is expensive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when you’re involved with music (no matter what role you’re in) it’s expensive and for someone just starting out, you will spend thousands of your own money and realistically quite possibly not make a dime back. Even if you one day get signed to a major label, this will come after you’ve spent a significant amount of your own money and even then when the label is picking up the tab for your expenses, they take it back off the top with interest. However if you do it for the love and not the money? You’ll never be disappointed. With that being said, today I want to address the area of promotion especially purchasing online promotion for social media, radio spins, mix tape slots, and showcase performances.
You have got to keep an open mind and have realistic expectations. You can’t “make” people like your music. The only thing you have control over is giving it your all, having it professionally recorded, mixed, mastered, quality artwork and the rest? Is going to fall where it may. When you are purchasing promotion services, you are hiring someone to do a specific task. The best you can hope for when investing your money, is that the person you employ delivers the work you hired them to do. You can’t hire anyone to give you plays, downloads, or purchases. If you’re looking for organic (natural, not purchased “plays” or “hits”) numbers the best you can do is make sure the person you hire is doing what you paid them to do and that you are hiring the right person.
You have to have a budget for promotion. Period. Once you have established that you are taking your music seriously and have dotted all of your I’s and crossed your T’s (check the Hip Hop 101 tab on this blog for other articles that lead up to the point where you’re actually employing promoters) you need to set aside money that is specifically for putting your music out there. I don’t care if it’s $20 a week, you need to have a budget. You also need to understand that the more money you spend on good promotion, the better your results are going to be.
Ideally, you’d be able to hire a Publicist. This costs thousands of continual dollars and is a regular expense or staff person to an artist that has a fan base, buzz, and music income that warrants hiring a Publicist. You can hire one for a campaign (i.e. to release a debut album or mix tape) however, this is still going to cost you thousands of dollars. Just to give you an idea, some years back for a gospel artist, I hired a reputable publicist in the gospel music community for a Myspace/ Email blast and that one service alone for 30-days was $750.00 USD. The artist this was done for was an established independent artist with an existing fan base in the gospel community and in his case the investment was well worth it because he sold a few thousand albums during the first month alone. If you are not an “established” artist / producer as of yet, spending that kind of money on a person with no credentials or existing fan base would more then likely be a huge waste of money unless of course you just hit the lotto and had the extra money to burn.
“Showcase Performances” :
DO NOT EVER pay anyone to perform. Ever. “Artist Showcases” are a hustle. You’re paying to perform in front of other people who paid to be there. The “A & R” from so and so records that’s also allegedly in the audience? Big, huge, fat joke most of the time. If you want to know who an actual A&R is for a certain label? Look it up. It’s public information. Don’t just believe something because someone told you, CHECK. There are companies that make ALL of their money taking yours. They book venues with club owners they have existing relationships with, you pay your own expenses to get to the show, you pay for your performance time, they give you a flyer with their logo on it that says you’re performing so you can post it on Facebook and feel like a rock star, and they split your money. Open Mic nights are usually free (with the exception of a door cover charge or a small entry fee) and if you make great music and can present yourself in a professional way, most small local clubs or bars will let you host your own show there during the week for a reasonable fee. You can also find out if there are local events already going on in your community and you can inquire about performing. This works the same way with a “prize” at the end. I know several artists from different states that all found themselves “winners” and no cash prize, radio interview, or record deal ever manifested after “winning”.
Mix Tape Slots:
Purchasing Mix Tape Slots is a great way to get your music out into other people’s fan base. You want to make sure that the slot you’re purchasing is actually geared toward the fan base you’re trying to target. Placing your hip-hop track on a jazz mix tape would be pointless. Any mix tape opportunity that offers free slots is something you should jump on because it can’t hurt and it doesn’t cost anything, but these don’t roll around too often.
How much can a slot cost? In all honesty a slot can cost anywhere from $25- thousands depending on the DJ or who’s mix tape it is. The higher it is in the ranks of fan base, reputable brand, and DJ the more it’s going to cost. In my experiences, you can get on a decent mix tape for $50-$150 and the good and great ones are going to cost you $500 & up. You want to ALWAYS do your research. I know too many people that have been robbed out of $10, $15, $25 for “mix tape slots”. You have got to cross check who you are doing business with! Who are these people? Who is the DJ? When you google them, what comes up? Do they have an actual website or were they trying to hustle you a slot in a direct message on Twitter? What other mix tapes do they have out? What are the numbers? Can you find previous projects on more then one site? Who’s on the mix tape? If they’re telling you Hell Razah (Wu-Tang Clan/ Sunz of Man) is on it, check his time lines, is he promoting it? This is a lot of work folks, but if you don’t have money to lose, you better do your homework.
To launch a radio campaign on major radio stations costs approximately $100,000.00 for six months, possibly more. That’s how much it was last time I checked almost four years ago. This is why the artists you see on television and hear on the radio are people with millions of sponsorship dollars behind them (and why you constantly hear that real hip-hop is not on the radio). Your local radio stations may do certain segments in order to let local people compete in contests or be played on the radio but it’s not consistently unless someone is getting paid a large sum of money. Most college radio stations will play your music for free if it’s good or they have a radio show that supports your genre. The only way to find this out is to start supporting your local college radio stations and listen to their shows and figure out who you’d need to submit music to, the web site, and if there’s possibly any upcoming events that you could participate in. Most college stations though are going to tell you that your music has to be “radio edit” meaning profanity and illegal drug reference free (check with them about guidelines). You can also buy “blog talk radio” spins and don’t sleep on blog radio because it’s on the come up and some shows have huge followings. If you check my bio information on the front page, there’s a link to when I appeared on the Nikki Rich Show awhile back. If you aren’t familiar, Nikki has made quite a large following with blog talk radio, has always offered promotional services at a reasonable price, and has moved on to bigger things (check out her Instagram @ msnikkirich and side bar, this is exactly what I was referring to about doing your research on people before hiring them to do something). Check out the show though, find out how many listeners they have, if they feature someone is that person also sharing they were featured there? All of this validates the source and although of course nothing is guaranteed, you can cut down on the instance that you may get robbed simply by doing a little research.
Social Media Promotions:
This isn’t rocket science folks, as I have mentioned above you have got to do your homework on people. I can’t tell you how may “Twitter promoters” I’ve seen that claim celebrities use their promotion services yet there is absolutely no evidence anywhere on the internet that they do. I’m going to use Hell Razah as an example again because it’s not a secret I’m affiliated with his movement and work for his label. If Razah has a new song and I promote the new song, Razah shares the promotion I’ve done so that his fans know that the promotion I am sending out is real. This is public information and can be cross checked on both of our social media accounts. When people “appear” to have millions of followers, etc. you have to check their time lines. People can purchase followers, re-tweets, plays, etc. You have to be very careful because there are individuals that sell these purchased services and loop people into their time lines only to hood wink them with a few robot followers and they’re basically taking your money to share your music with fake follows. Look at when people’s accounts were established, how old is it? How long have they been selling promotion? I sell promotion, occasionally. I say occasionally because I won’t send just anything through my time line for a few bucks. I value my fans and supporters and they click my links because I don’t give them garbage. I know in this respect not everybody agrees with me but they can keep their $100. I am a person that poured a lot into my brand and name and a few hundred dollars to me isn’t worth discrediting myself. There are good reputable people out there that sell real social media promotion, but you have got to do your research. Face Book and Twitter now both offer “boosting” for posts. I haven’t found it to be hugely effective, but it’s reasonably priced and at least you’re purchasing the service or boost from the site directly.
Lastly, I want to mention manners. If someone takes the time to blog you, or share your music? Don’t forget to also promote the article or at least return the music sharing with a thank you or a shout-out. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect people. You don’t have to be the best emcee, producer, or DJ in the world but in the digital age where everyone can just reach out and touch anyone on social media, the only fool-proof way to gain a following and real supporters is to be respectful and remain humble. Too many times people forget (mainly because of the trash they’re brainwashed with on the radio) that manners, honor, integrity, and respect will get you places money can’t buy.
If you found something in this article helpful for you or someone else, don’t forget to share it! Best wishes in all your endeavors!
Tags: A&R, artist showcase, blog, College Radio, DJ, facebook, Heaven Razah, Hell Razah, hiphop, hiphop101, instagram, internet promotion, Mixtape, Money, Music, nikki rich, online promotion, promotion, publicist, radio, radio spins, record label, scams, social media, sunz of man, twitter, underground hiphop, wu tang clan